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Navy. Some are studying other tech- nologies and systems, including high- temperature superconducting motors, new prime movers-such as advanced nuclear plants and next-generation gas turbines such as the WR-21 engine in testing-and direct-electric conversion from nuclear power. Others are concen- trating on "downstream" technologies and systems for weapons, sensors, and passive and active defenses. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has estab- lished a "swamp works" that is examin- ing electric warships. Also, an ONR- sponsored 13th future naval capabilities area for electric warships and combat vehicles has been put in place. The
Chief of Naval Research, Rear Admiral
Jay Cohen, has made the all-electric ship his top priority.
However, looking in from outside, the
Navy's approach seems fragmented and ill coordinated, and it remains under- funded despite more than $100 million spent on IED and IPS technologies and systems over the past decade or so (mostly by industry and academia). That is small change compared to the billions that have been allocated to weapons, sensors, command-and-control, and other systems. During the past ten years of declining Navy research-and-devel- opment funding generally, the fraction going to HM&E systems has declined.
Still, sensor, combat systems, and weapon designers somehow seem to assume that modern HM&E elements- advanced hull designs, modern propul- sion systems, and sophisticated zonal electric distribution systems-will be in hand when needed. Several government officials conclude that Secretary
Danzig's corporate approach cannot work unless the service overcomes its penchant for rice bowls, and a single agency has the responsibility and authority to make decisions and allocate resources.
In August 2000, Senator Trent Lott suggested that the Navy establish a new high-level office to oversee electric drive in the fleet, as had been done with nuclear power. His idea was rejected by the Navy, but it remains valid. In this vein, a July 2000 Congressional
Research Service report concluded that "policy-makers might consider electric drive as not simply a proposal but a broader technology area that might
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November, 2001 39